As a child of the 90’s, it’s no surprise that I love Disney movies. As someone who also loves art, I adore the artists who work at Disney—Glen Keane, Brittney Lee, etc. One of these artists is Claire Keane, a visual development artist who worked on Tangled and Frozen. Granddaughter of Bill Keane, author of Family Circus and daughter of legendary Disney animator Glen Keane, Claire Keane recently released her debut picture book, Once Upon A Cloud.
Once Upon A Cloud is the story of a little girl named Celeste. Celeste is looking for the perfect gift for her mother, and one night she goes on a magical journey through the sky. When she returns home, she’s found the inspiration she needs to give her mother the perfect gift.
The story is very charming and magical, but the real magic was the art. Claire Keane used pastel to create the drawings—Celeste and her cute little puppy traversing the sky, meeting the stars and moon and sun and wind. The representations of these heavenly bodies are creative and fun. The pastels make for a perfect palette, and every page seems to sparkle. The images are simply beautiful.
It isn’t the kind of picture book that a child learning to read reads to themselves. It’s for the parents to read to the kids, though older kids won’t have a problem with the vocabulary. But all kids will want to read it over and over again just to look at the pictures. I’m contemplating buying a second copy just to frame the pages.
Emily and I were lucky enough to go to her book launch in Pasadena at Vroman’s Bookstore and it was so much. She talked about her inspiration, her work on Tangled, and answered questions. She also read her story to the children and adults there. The signing line was ridiculously long, a testament to the charm of her picture book, but even after all that time, she was still so friendly and sincere when we met her, doodling in our books and taking pictures. It was a great event, and I was so happy to see the event so successful.
I highly recommend the book for any little girl, though numerous little boys were there and quite enjoyed it. Even as a adult, I’ve already reread the book many times over. Once Upon A Cloud will enchant children, but also adults. It’s a brief but magical experience, and I can’t wait to see what project Claire Keane tackles next!